Let’s go in reverse tonight! Once in a while we’ve got to live a little and do things a little differently, right?
First off, I am so thankful for safe travels. Between all of my Express cohorts, myself, Becky, her family, and the boys we’ve been so blessed to have had travelled without issue. Sure, there may have been some bumps in the road here and there, but we’re all safe. It is something that I often take for granted, but today I caught myself thinking just how fortunate we’ve been with all our recent travel.
I know, you’re probably starting to get sick of me talking about Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. Much of my second flight was spent on re-reading the same chapter of Meditations several times (most of my first flight was spend examining my eye lids for cracks). I even fired up the audio version to close my eyes and listen to in order to get things at a slightly differently level than when reading the paperback. Even tonight I’ve gone back through that one chapter a couple of more times and have been jotting down notes to myself.
The entire chapter is Marcus taking time to say why he is thankful for many of the most influential people in his life. As I’ve gone through it I’ve noticed a pattern of themes that appear over and over again. In finding those commons themes of the seven values he seems to be grateful for most often I’m seeing a roadmap to how to shorten the gap between who I currently am and who I should grow into.
The themes I’m seeing repeated over and over are:
- Gratitude – The entire chapter is essentially an exercise of thankfulness.
- Simplicity – Marcus often points out how so many of those around him could have lived lavishly but instead chose a path of simplicity
- Logic – This is repeated over and over throughout. The ability to pause, think, and focus on the correct answer as opposed to emotion was critical.
- Love – While much of the chapter is almost “anti-emotion” there is a strong sense of loving thy neighbor that keeps coming through in many different ways.
- Learning – He was continually focused on those who asked questions, surrounded themselves with others who were more intelligent, and had a passion for learning.
- Work – It is very clear that Aurelius valued hard work and those who never shirked their responsibilities when the path got too difficult.
- Optimism – How interesting that one of my favorite quotes from the Dalai Lama would have sounded natural being penned by Marcus; “What can I learn from this?”
In spending so much time reading and re-reading it I am catching more than I normally would. How funny that it was brought about by a quote from the book… “To read attentively – not to be satisfied with ‘just getting the gist of it.'”
Last, but certainly not least, I am thankful for time with my boys. Even though we weren’t apart for very long it felt like we had a ton to catch up on. They must’ve felt the same way as they were totally in on everything from going to get the dogs with me to walking the dogs with me to spending more time talking than watching during our show tonight (Alone). We spent more time in attentive dialogue with each other than normal. Funny how sometimes the absence of those most important in our lives reminds us to appreciate those times we have with them even more. So similar to what I wrote about on Friday in a very different yet oddly similar way.
Being home with them and spending time with them was exactly what my soul needed today. I am so grateful for each moment we get together… and we have much more of it planned for the week ahead.